Review Summary: slow carnageVital
is absolutely relentless. The record bears the intensity of a thousand delicately planned and controlled car crashes in slow motion, and appears more than aware of its colossal nature. Impressively, Big Brave manage to afford themselves enough time and space to indulge in astonishingly dynamic songwriting, keeping their latest full length as intriguing and engaging as it is immensely overwhelming.
Opener ‘Abating the Incarnation of Matter’ wastes no time drilling a massive, distorted riff into whatever may be in its proximity. It repeats and repeats, slowly disseminating into hypnosis before Robin Wattie’s vocals pierce through Big Brave’s eternally grey cloud. She sounds steadfast yet helpless, as her angelic wails transform into wonderfully ear-splitting screams, resolutely demarcating the end of the track’s destruction.
There’s time to breathe. Kind of.
Every breath on Vital
is filled with equal amounts of anticipation and captivating fear. ‘Half Breed’ employs moments of silence to cataclysmic extents, allowing Wattie’s voice to permeate the ominous interruptions, before the lethargic avalanche of distortion crashes back into view. Its final two minutes elongate the breaks, adding an element of unpredictability to the song, while absolute, eventual destruction remains tangibly inevitable. Bleeding into ‘Wited. Still and All…’, Big Brave opt for splitting the record in half with an equally eerie piece of lingering drone, beautifully contrasting and complementing its surrounding blanket of dense, sludgy post metal.
You can’t escape. You don’t even want to.
Nine-minute behemoths ‘Of This Ilk’ and ‘Vital’ end the record in a similar, marvelously exhausting manner. The closer shifts the foggy spotlight to the drums in its first half, where the instrument collides with dense layers of reverb at approximately one and a half beats per minute. The song progresses like a sonic deconstruction of Vital
, slowly disintegrating into the ether before Big Brave lets out one final burst of energy; upping both the tempo and intensity one final time with a distant, equally meandering guitar solo closing the titanium curtains.
Clocking in at 38 minutes, Vital
accomplishes everything it sets out to do. It’s neither unnecessarily long nor unsatisfactorily short: the wonderfully slow carnage is brilliantly wrapped in the record’s cold shell. Simultaneously, the replay button looms on the dim horizon as the album concludes. Big Brave’s total annihilation is simply too captivating.